Contemplative Complexity

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Meditation (guided or silent) has been part of my daily life for the past few years. I found meditation through yoga practice. The aim of my meditation practice thus far has been self-healing (physical and mental). The introduction of a contemplative practice as a pedagogic tool in this course was appealing. I had expected positive results, as I have been successful in using meditation for therapeutic purposes. I did indeed experience a deeper understanding of the material using this technique, especially given the broad scope of this course. However it has had some emotional drawbacks.

In lesson 7 on climate change I found that connecting deeply and personally to the material conveyed some strong feelings of guilt and anger. I felt shame and guilt for living a relatively easy life in a developed country and using more than my fair share of fossil fuel. My place in the world makes me a causative agent in climate change and makes me culpable in the suffering of people in Developing Countries. I also felt anger. Anger is a painful emotion that I try to avoid in my life as I have found it to be ineffectual. But I found myself unable to retreat from this feeling. I am angry with the US and other rich nation’s governments for acting selfishly in supporting policy that has lined their coffers and induced the ruin of our climate. I am angry with previous generations who indulged in the finite resources of the Earth as if they were unending with no regard for future generations. In my anger I also see the systemic connections of my actions upon people living in DCs. Although I aim to live minimally and eat locally,  I am  having difficulty, since this contemplation, rectifying where and how I live.

Stuttgart, Germany.


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